Monday, November 28, 2016

Talking to your children about the environment

This booklet contains suggestions for teaching children at different ages about the environment.

This information booklet has been prepared for adults who want to talk with children and adolescents about the environment. It provides parents with tips on helping children to develop environmentally-friendly values and behaviours, helping them to understand the environmental challenges we face, and easing their anxiety about the threat of climate change.

Teaching children about the natural world is not just a nice thing to do - it is vital for the future of our children and the future of all life. Children are naturally curious and open to learning about nature, but in an increasingly urban society we often need to consciously create opportunities to help children bond with nature and learn about the environment.

These days, learning about nature is inextricably tied up with learning about climate change and other environmental problems. Climate change is now the subject of much concern and discussion amongst adults, and is often the subject of alarming and catastrophic news reports in the media. These problems are large, complex to understand, and have the potential to bring up strong feelings like fear, anxiety, frustration, anger or despair.

It is likely that many children are aware of the threat of climate change. However it is also quite likely that they are confused about the facts and the extent of the threat they personally face, and might feel anxious, concerned or confused. Worries and anxieties about these threats can become difficult for children of all ages to deal with.

On the other hand, children can also be very quick to grasp problems and are able to apply great energy and enthusiasm to putting solutions in place. The good thing about environmental problems is that we know what many of the solutions are, and many of them are very simple. Indeed, children are often reported to be better at getting going with environmental solutions than the adults are!

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